Tucson, Ariz., in 1909 (Wikipedia)

Tucson, Ariz., in 1909 (Wikipedia) (click to enlarge)

Imagine a legal system in which your property rights could not be assured, and where your land holdings could be stripped of you based on your marital status.

That scenario is not beyond imagining. As you might surmise, that situation was faced by approximately half of the U.S. population at one time (and continues for many more globally today).

In the June issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine, we were privileged to feature a story that occurred right in Tucson not so very long ago.

It was titled Anna’s Story, and here is how author and attorney Marjorie Cunningham opened the real-life tale:

“Buying, selling and trading land has been a part of Arizona’s booms and busts since colonial times. One shrewd and successful land speculator during the 1800s was a French woman named Anna Charauleau. Ms. Charauleau also exhibited the strong will and relentless nature needed to pursue the protection of her legal rights. Those qualities became important in Arizona legal history, as she was a party to several landmark cases decided by Arizona’s Supreme Court in the 1870s and 1880s in which women’s property rights were at issue.”

Read the whole article here.

And be sure to read carefully the excerpts from the Supreme Court opinion regarding the land matters. Here is how a wise justice analyzed things:

“Before her marriage, the law presumes [a woman] competent to buy and sell and convey property, and supposes she acts in such matters as intelligently as if she were the opposite sex; but during the existence of the marriage relation somehow this condition of ignorance and stupidity is supposed to settle down upon her, to benumb her faculties, to cast a cloud upon her intelligence, to be lifted only by the death of her spouse or other severance of the marriage. … ”

“We are certain that the presumption contended for by the counsel, that a woman of mature years, and an American wife, ceases from the day of her marriage to know what she is doing in the execution of a conveyance until advised … should no longer obtain in a court of justice.”

Thank you to our author for sharing such a compelling piece of Arizona history.

Are there other historic stories that are evocative to you? Contact me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

The Westin La Paloma Resort, site of the State Bar of Arizona Convention, June 11-13, 2014.

The Westin La Paloma Resort, site of the State Bar of Arizona Convention, June 11-13, 2014.

By now, you’ve received your State Bar Convention brochure. No? It’s also available online here.

I’ll be on-site in Tucson for the entire event, from Tuesday through Friday, June 10-13. If you can make it, look for me strolling among seminars and special events. But if you can’t attend, tell me which events or seminars you’d like me to cover—live and in-person. Tell me what you’re interested in, and I’ll try to cover it in my Convention Daily updates. Follow all of the updates and links to stories through Twitter. And follow the action via the Convention hashtag: #azbarcon

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorAnd if you want to cover an event yourself as a bylined author or guest blogger, contact me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org. Or if your skill is shooting photos, contact me too; we may be able to share them with Arizona’s legal community.

In the coming week, I’ll share some previews of the seminars that will be presented at Convention. Maybe that will spur your interest even more.

Pima County Bar Association logo

Law Day events continue across Arizona and the nation. Today, I share news of what is happening this weekend in Tucson.

There, the Pima County Bar Association is offering free consultations with lawyers. Surely, you or someone you know could benefit from a conversation about legal issues.

The “Meet a Lawyer” legal clinic will be held on Saturday, May 3, at the Tucson Mall, from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm. There, you and others can have your legal questions answered for free.

As the PCBA says:

“Attorneys will be available to assist individuals one-on-one, for brief, 15-minute intervals. Legal help is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Attorneys will cover a variety of legal topics, yet we cannot guarantee that all legal areas or questions can be addressed throughout the event. Helpful legal resources & handouts will also be available.”

You can download a flier here.

And here is a snapshot of the legal areas and when they will be represented at the clinic:

Pima County Bar Association Law Day will provide free legal advice on many topics.

Pima County Bar Association Law Day will provide free legal advice on many topics.

More information is available at the PCBA website or by calling 520-623-8258.

And be sure to tweet something about #LawDay – let’s get the term trending on Twitter, at least in Arizona!

Ornament on historic Tucson, Ariz., courthouse

Ornament on historic Tucson, Ariz., courthouse

Just a short item today pointing you to a long article—but you didn’t want to work too much today anyway, right?

I recently was sent a story by Tucson Judge José Luis Castillo Jr. He has penned an essay online that tells us much about legal history and what preservation really is (and what it is not).

He writes about the history of Arizona’s oldest working courtroom. Read his article here.

“Working” is an important word, because much of what makes it vital as a teaching tool may be endangered. Jump to the closer paragraphs of his piece, if you must, to read his insightful conclusion.

But give yourself the time to read the whole thing. There, you will see the role a room has played in our history—and even in Hollywood.

Have a great weekend.

 

court rule aids lawyers who are military spouses

This month in Arizona Attorney, we published an article on assistance now available for lawyers who are married to active-duty servicemembers.

Given how unpopular taking a bar exam is for most lawyers, I cannot imagine the challenge of following a military spouse around the country, where you would face varying admissions rules and exams. It would be enough to go inactive.

And that’s exactly what has faced many attorneys, and state supreme courts have been listening—thanks largely to a few women who have raised the issue nationwide. And among those people are two woman with Tucson ties named Mary Reding and Rachel Winkler.

Former Tucson resident Mary Reding, founder of the Military Spouse JD Network.

Former Tucson resident Mary Reding, founder of the Military Spouse JD Network.

Together, Reding and Winkler started the Military Spouse JD Network, “a national association that works to find solutions to the challenges of lawyers who happen to have military spouses.”

Read a great story about their work here.

And you can Like the network on Facebook here.

Our Arizona Attorney story is one written by Rodney Glassman. He is a lawyer and airman, and he describes well the changed Arizona rule that makes our state a leader in assisting military spouses.

Read Rodney’s article here.

And here is a list of requirements in the Arizona rule.

court rules aids military spouses bullet points

Tom Chandler, 1920-2013

Tom Chandler, 1920-2013

We received the very sad news this week that Tom Chandler had died on November 29. The Tucson attorney was 94.

Of course, Tom was one of the most well-known Arizona lawyers, recognized for his legal achievements and his giving nature.

As the Arizona Daily Star article opens:

“Tom Chandler, a retired attorney considered to be among Tucson’s most dedicated philanthropists, has died. He was 94.”

“Chandler, who was born in a barn to an impoverished family and spent much of his life helping people in need, died Friday at home of prostate cancer.”

“No public services are planned. His family plans to sprinkle some of his ashes in the Catalina Mountains overlooking the city he loved.”

“‘It’s a huge loss,’ said U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, with whom Chandler had a decades-long friendship.”

“‘He was one of the great men of Tucson. His legacy is everywhere.’”

Read the whole article here.

As you might guess, Tom was “in” Arizona Attorney Magazine a few times over the years. Most recently, a U.S. District Court Judge in Vermont, Hon. Christina Reiss, took the time to write for us about her experience as a young law clerk to Tom’s firm. It says much about him that she wanted to write about him not just as a great lawyer, but as a mentor.

And just this past summer, an article by Richard Bellah examined the question “Who’s Number 1?” Who are the oldest-living Arizona lawyers with the lowest Bar numbers?

Tom Chandler came in at the number-three berth, with Bar Number 000365.

You can read our entire article here. But what follows is what the article said about one of Arizona’s greats. Rest in peace.

Third on our list is Tom Chandler, Bar Number 365.

Tom Chandler, holder of the third-lowest Arizona Bar number of still-living attorneys, remembers Arizona’s first licensed attorney, Ralph Bilby, as a longtime friend, colleague and opponent.

“He defended a railroad case that I had, as well as a real estate matter, an antitrust case, and a personal injury claim. Ralph was a premiere trial lawyer” who continued to work in his law office even in his later years.

Asked to recount memorable significant cases, Chandler responds that all of his client cases were significant. Whether it was a big-dollar case or small, he gave each case 100 percent effort. One case he thought unique involved the largest bond default in the country, with total exposure of $4 billion. It involved so many attorneys that a hotel conference room was used to hold court.

Law practice wasn’t Chandler’s first ambition. “I really wanted to be a professional baseball player but got my right arm and shoulder injured, so I couldn’t throw the ball from first base to home.” In 1942, Chandler earned his undergrad degree from the University of Arizona and started working for the Army Corps of Engineers. He started law school at the U of A in 1943 and graduated three years later, first in his class. He remembers the 1946 bar exam well.

“It was two days, no time off for lunch—well, you could take time off, but no time was budgeted. The first day went like a charm; I got through early and decided to celebrate.”

He went to a baseball game that lasted 19 innings, didn’t get much sleep, and struggled with day two of the exam. Nonetheless, he and 14 others passed the bar; they were licensed on September 30, 1946.

Chandler was a trial lawyer. He agrees that trying cases is stressful work and points out that his most difficult cases involved the death penalty, which he strongly advocated against. “If you want the acid test as a trial lawyer, get yourself a first-degree murder case where they’re seeking the death penalty,” he says.

Chandler’s advice to new lawyers reflects his belief that the law is a helping profession.

“If you want to be rich, go into business. If your aim in practicing law is to make money, then you’re on the wrong road; do something else. You’ve got to make a living, yes, but don’t get caught up in this rush and reverence to the bottom line.”

Chandler believes that lawyers are “supposed to be doing something good for mankind.” He urges lawyers to take on more pro bono cases.

“See if you can’t say, ‘I moved some rocks out of the road for a lot of people.’”

In 1999, the U of A College of Law created the Thomas Chandler Public Service Award, which awards scholarships to students pursuing careers in public service. Recently, Chandler was awarded the Tucson Founders’ Award for his many years of community service. And his daughter, Terry Chandler, a 1980 graduate from the U of A Law School, recently retired from the Pima County Superior Court bench.

pro bono gavelHere is a challenge I offer to you today: Share a law-related item via social media or email.

Whoa, pretty easy, right? I bet you thought I was going to ask for some major heavy lifting. Instead, it is a simple click, share, send, done.

The item is connected to a topic I covered before: a State Bar of Arizona Law Day event that will offer free legal information to those who need it.

Really, truly, honestly free. The information will be provided by generous Arizona attorneys who know that the gap between legal services and people who need them is too, too wide. Those volunteers are offering their time pro bono to help shrink the gap just a bit.

All of the pertinent details are here. If you share nothing else, send this link to anyone you know who may be able to use it. As the State Bar says:

“The 2013 Law Day Legal Aid Clinics will serve as a free legal resource where members of communities from across the Valley and Tucson can attend information sessions on a variety of legal topics.”

“The information sessions will be conducted by volunteer lawyers and will last 90 minutes. Lawyers will provide guests with a presentation on a specific legal topic, as well as reserve time for a question and answer period. Guests can participate in one or more sessions at one of the five partner locations.”

Are you connected via social media or email to any groups that could benefit? Send it their way. Post it on your Facebook timeline. Share it on your neighborhood association listserv. Ask your firm administrator to post it prominently.

Your sharing news of Saturday’s event can help guarantee its success. Possible attendees have to be informed about the locations, the topics, the opportunity on offer. Success of the event, as measured by attendance and questions answered, will help ensure that it can be done—again and again.

For at least a part of the morning, I will be at the event staged at Phoenix’s Burton Barr Central Library. I want to hear some of the information offered, and I want to thank the lawyers who are offering it—and their Saturday.

I hope to see you and your friends there. And if you missed that link, here it is again.

Earth Day Phoenix 2013Here’s an easy and non-challenging way to get back into a new week: Think about celebrating Earth Day.

I’ve written about this event before, more than once, and luckily there are a few items that you can still add to your busy, Earth-loving schedule. (Sorry, Tucson; your city’s events largely occurred on Sunday the 21st.)

First, if you have the time, stop by the City of Phoenix’s festivities, beginning at 11 a.m. today. Organizers promise: “You’ll learn about recycling and sustainability, take home useful giveaways and share your enthusiasm with thousands of environmentally minded attendees.”

More information is here.

ASU School of Sustainability logoIf you’d prefer a more scholarly approach to the day, head over to ASU’s School of Sustainability, where a speaker asks (and answers, I suppose) the question, “Who is responsible for climate change?”

The 4 p.m. lecture will be delivered by Naomi Oreskes, a UC-San Diego professor.

Bidder 70 movie posterFinally, if the visual is more your cup of tea, then a movie on Monday evening may be just the ticket.

“Bidder 70” is a documentary about a young man (and former ASU student) who, “in an act of civil disobedience, derailed the outgoing Bush administration’s Bureau of Land Management oil and gas auction. As bidder number 70, [Tim] DeChristopher bid $1.8 million and won 22,000 pristine acres surrounding Utah’s national parks. He had no intention to pay or drill.”

DeChristopher incurred the wrath of the federal government, which charged him with two felonies that could lead to a 10-year prison sentence.

The movie screening is free, but RSVP here.

All of the School of Sustainability’s activities and events are listed here.

Happy Earth Day.

The Pioneer Hotel burns in downtown Tucson, December 1970.

The Pioneer Hotel burned in downtown Tucson, December 1970.

[Note: A previous version of this story indicated that the Pima County Attorney's Office is housed in the structure that formerly was the site of the Pioneer Hotel. We were misinformed; the PCAO is across the steet from that site. We apologize for the error.] 

Last evening, the TV news magazine 60 Minutes screened a compelling news story about the Hotel Pioneer fire case, from 1970.

The Tucson fire killed 28 guests, and 16-year-old Louis Taylor was arrested before the fire was extinguished. The black teenager was convicted by an all-white jury.

The news program (screen shots below) was peppered with commentary by Taylor’s Arizona lawyer, Ed Novak, a Polsinelli partner (and former President of the State Bar of Arizona). As the story says, Novak “is now leading Louis Taylor’s defense team, which is made up of volunteer lawyers, students and law professors from the Arizona Justice Project.” That team has sought a new trial for Taylor.

Novak and the team reviewed all the evidence, and conducted depositions of individuals such as the original fire investigator, Cy Holmes. That work was followed by recent findings that the cause of the fire was undetermined; that meant arson was just one of a number of possibilities.

“The last time I checked,” Novak said, “we don’t convict people on a ‘possibility.’”

In the story, Steve Kroft reported that 60 Minutes had sought an interview with Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall, to no avail. So Steve approached her on a Tucson street. That interview is captured in the broadcast.

But, as the story indicated, a new trial will likely never occur. Taylor has accepted a deal that gave him release from prison—where he has spent two-thirds of his life—but through which he must declare no contest to the charges.

You should read the script, and view the story, here.

Later this week, Taylor’s lawyers will have a press conference on the case’s outcome. I’ll report their statements.

Here are some screen shots from the 60 Minutes program:

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Rehnquist Center banner logoSo far, my overscheduled Tuesday looks like it won’t accommodate a trip south to Tucson. And that’s really too bad. (Well, that’s too bad most any day, but it’s especially the case on February 26.)

The reason I’d like to drop by the University of Arizona Law School is to attend an oral argument—before the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, of all legal bodies.

Here is how the Court describes itself and its civilian judges:

“The United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces exercises worldwide appellate jurisdiction over members of the armed forces on active duty and other persons subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The Court is composed of five civilian judges appointed for 15-year terms by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.”

Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces sealThe Rehnquist Center at the law school has announced the morning event, during which law students will have the opportunity to argue; those same students have already filed an amicus brief in the case.

The Center says that the Court has never traveled to Tucson. But if that’s not enough of a draw, here are the case facts:

“GCM conviction of possession of child pornography, larceny of military property and filing a false claim. Granted issues question (1) whether the military judge abused his discretion when he failed to suppress evidence of child pornography discovered on Appellant’s personal computer in the course of an unreasonable search conducted to find contraband after Appellant was wounded in Iraq and medically evacuated to the United States; and (2) whether the Army Court erred in creating a new exception to the Fourth Amendment when it held that the Government’s search of Appellant’s personal computer was reasonable because the Government was not ‘certain’ or ‘absolutely clear’ that it would be returned to the wounded-warrior Appellant.”

From where I sit, that is a fascinating Fourth Amendment question. (Although didn’t the U.S. Supreme Court this past Term examine a question related to privacy rights on a school computer that could possibly be returned to the employer? What case was that? Anyone?) (Recently, Canada’s Supreme Court took the view that folks do have some measure of privacy, even on their work-issued computer. O Canada.)

More information about the Tuesday morning arguments is here. Included among the detail are the argument briefs (in PDF).

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